Leung Bok Lao

Posted by tommy56nc on Oct 3, 2011
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Ancestors and Sifus
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Leung Bok Lao (1771–1859-projected) (Liang Bochou,Leung Bok Chao,Liang Boliu) was the husband of Yim Wing Chun and is credited with naming and teaching the Wing Chun System, to the members of the King Fa Wui Goon.

There are variations, in the oral accounts and traditions, passed down about Leung Bok Lao, how he learned Wing Chun Kuen, and who he accepted as students to pass the Wing Chun Kuen system down to.

The most romantic version of the story holds Leung Bok Lao was a native of Zhaoqing, Guangdong where he had Studied and learned Choy family boxing methods from Choy Gao Yee. Choy’s youngest son, Choy Biu, defeated Leung Bok in a match up. After which , Leung Bok travelled to Guangxi province in hopes of finding a new teacher, with a new superior method. As Leung Bok was a poor traveler, he stayed the night at a local hotel which adjoined the Yim family tofu shop.

One evening, awaking from a deep sleep, Leung Bak heard what sounded like Martial art training. Leung Woke himself and went to see who was training. To his astonishment, it was a beautiful woman, that he later found out was named Yim Wing Chun. She moved like a Mixture of a Crane flying and a Snake moving beneath the light of the moon. His heart immediatly belonged only to her, as her skill and beauty were peerless under heaven.

Leung Bok visited the Yim’s Tofu shop and introduced himself to Yim Yee. As they talked, they discovered they belonged to the same “Red Turbin Sect”. Feeling honor bound, Yim Yee offered to have Leung Bok stay with him and his daughter, as they lived alone, since Yim Wing Chun’s mother had passed away.Yim Yee offered to share, with his Sect brother, the art that Miu Shin had passed down to him.

Yim Yee liked young Leung Bok as he reminded Yim Yee Of himself when he was young. He decided he would make a perfect husband for Yim Wing Chun. When Yim Yee passed away in the early 1800′s, Leung Bok Continued learning from his wife. After soundly being bested by his her, in a contest of skill, his frustrations grew. She attempted to explain the Rou / Soft method approach to him and that he needed to look beyond the raw material as he knew as much as she did. But he was still using to much muscular force, which was contrary, to the precepts, of the methods, he was attempting to master.

After his wife Passed away, he named the system after her. And hence it has been called Wing Chun ever since. Leung travelled the country side. At some point he ended up in Foshan. Here accounts vary greatly. Some accounts say he met a scholar named Leung Lan Kwai,and exchanged with Lan Kwai and Lan Kwai’s teacher, Wong Wah Bo, and classmate, Dai Fa Min Kam. THis was an exchange of his Wing Chun Boxing for their Chi Shim Weng Chun pole Method.Other accounts have Leung Bok Lao Passing down the Art to Leung Lan Kwai and Law Man Gung. And than it was they who passed the art to the Opera performers of the King Fa Wui Goon. More often found is the variation that Leung Bok Lau taught the 4 Opera performers of the King Fa Wui Goon himself directly and it was they who incorporated the Look Dim Boon Gwun. These first 3 students are usually the same, including, Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yee Tai, Dai Fa Min Kam, and than the 4th being either Yik Kam or Gulo Chung.

Yip man in his written and oral accounts, state Leung Bok Lao, was a salt merchant from Fujian.

“The Yiu Kai system has a slightly different version. They maintain that Leung Bok Lao was a merchant from Shangxi named who had been a student of the Henan Shaolin Temple. In 1810, he came to relax in a hotel. By chance, one day under the light of the moon he saw Yim Yee and his daughter Yim Wing Chun practicing martial arts beside the tofu grinders. He thought Wing Chun was beautiful and had excellent technique. He fell in love with her. He stayed and passed by many times to talk with them about martial arts. His first wife had died, and he though Wing Chun had excellent fighting skills, so he wanted to marry her. He had a friend ask, but Wing Chun was too embarassed to answer. Yim Yee thought Leung was good-looking, and was a fellow Shaolin follower, so he agreed for his daughter and they were married. After a few years, Yim Yee died and they moved to Shangxi but due to the constant fighting of bandits and soliders, they moved again to north Guangdong (Anhongyuan village). They opened a small business and taught “Wing Chun Kuen” to some students. In about 1815, they moved the school to Zhaoqing and continued teaching. The Red Junk Opera Company would often travel between Zhaoqing and Foshan. Wong Wah Bo (Mo-Sang), Leung Yee Tai (Mo-Deng), Kam (Dai Fa Min), and [[Siu Fook] (Siu-Sang) met them and learned Wing Chun.” (exerp from complete wing chun)

One outlandish entry in a French martial arts encyclopedia suggested that Leung Bok Lao, was in fact, Hung Ga Kuen founder Hung Hei-Goon, who changed his name and hid aboard the Red Junks, to escape arrest.

From the many various accounts, it is clear that Leung Bok Lao, whether a real person or an alias used as a cover, is credited in the Wing Chun Kuen creation myth, as the one who first spread the art (primarily to the Red Junk Opera members.)

Sources:

  • AWCKRI
  • Complete Wing Chun by Ritchie, Chu and Wu
  • Oral and Written Accounts Yip Man
  • Oral And Written Accounts Yuen Kay Shan
  • Oral And Written Accounts Sum Num
  • Oral And Written Accounts Yiu Kay
  • Wingchunkuen.com

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